The Greek island of Skiathos is a small perfectly formed bit of heaven pronounced Ski-a-thos. When you tell friends you’re visiting Skiathos, they’ll think you’re jetting to a truly exotic location, and they’ll be right.
Despite its small size, airlines fly directly from the UK. You can catch flights from London, Manchester and other regional airports.
Upon arrival, you know that you’ve traveled someplace different; the white-washed houses with blue shutters all shout “Greece.” You may recognize it as one of the gorgeous settings from the ABBA-themed film Mama Mia.
Skiathos is a great spot for couples seeking a romantic getaway. The sultry weather sets a languid pace. It does have night-life and other interests, but mostly it’s a place to sit on the beach catching some rays during the day, taking a romantic walk and enjoying evenings out in a nice restaurant.
Most of the action is in Skiathos Town, especially in the evening. It’s a relatively short walk into town from the outskirts. The roads are lined with a selection of small shops. There are delis to pick up cold cuts, fresh fruit and other items that can easily provide a picnic on the beach.
A handful of nightclubs are starting to pop-up on the far west side of Skiathos Town, along the harbor. These run late at night and get a little bit rowdy, but nothing compared to other Greek islands.
Many restaurants line the streets of the main harbor. A few boats are moored there from time to time. The restaurant staff come out onto the street to recommend their restaurant to passers-by. It’s all pleasant enough, so you don’t feel hassled.
There is plenty of freshly-caught seafood, Greek salads, calamari, lobster, beef kebabs and other staples to enjoy. There are also some vegetarian dishes, but other than nut roasts it can be a little difficult to cater for vegetarians. There is a strong meat focus in Greek cooking.
For lunch, there are also inexpensive giros (Greek meat kebabs) which you can buy from several places in the middle of town. Add a piece of fruit and you’ve got a cheap midday meal. As well as Greek cuisine, there are several decent Italian restaurants and a few other types of national cuisines available locally, but the focus is clearly on Greek food.
There are a small handful of beaches that are mostly pebble, rather than sandy, that are scattered around the island. The closest one is just before you walk into Skiathos Town.
The best beach, some say the best in all of Greece, is the Koukounaries beach at the far end of the island. It’s the picture perfect sandy beach one hopes for when flying to warmer climes.
The Greeks enjoy sitting down for a chat, sipping on either local whisky or ouzo, and getting to know you. Both Greek whisky and Ouzo pack quite a punch with a high alcohol content, so drink carefully if you indulge.
The Mediterranean lifestyle with slow afternoons, reading on the beach and a diet with meat, plenty of vegetables and olive oil gets you in the mood to relax. English is not widely spoken, but on Skiathos the people are used to tourists and so it’s relatively easy to get your point across.
Many of the hotels and other places to stay are within walking distance of Skiathos Town. Some farther away offer bicycles to ride back and forth. There is a major road that runs from the eastern coast along to the southern coast.
There are several buses that operate on their own routes, but the most useful one runs from Skiathos Town to Koukounaries beach (bus stop 26). At the many stops along the route, there are out of town hotels and pension accommodations to choose from. The bus runs several times an hour in peak season and less often during the off-peak.
You can also rent a scooter to see more of the town, but with frequent buses it’s not really necessary.
There are occasions when the power shuts down the entire island. Many of the restaurants near the Skiathos Town harbor have their own portable generators that kick in within a second or two.
Hotels and other accommodations often have their own separate power sources too. That said, power cuts are infrequent and don’t usually last for very long. Bring a torch though so you don’t have to send an S.O.S.
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